Ethiopian Airlines is boosting its long haul fleet with the introduction of a leased Airbus Industrie A340-300 which it will use on its new transatlantic operations as well on existing services to Europe.

The A340-300, which has been operated by Gulf Air since 1994, will be delivered at the end of June on three year lease from Airbus Industrie Financial Services.

The Ethiopian carrier is about to introduce its first transatlantic services - between Rome, Italy, and Washington DC - as an extension of its service from capital Addis Ababa. The A340 will be operated on the twice weekly new service, as well as to European destinations, alongside the airline's existing fleet of Boeing 757s and 767s.

Ethiopian has an all-Boeing jet fleet, but has been studying proposals from both Boeing and Airbus Industrie for its fleet renewal programme. It is not clear whether this move signals a move towards Airbus widebodied types in the longer term.

Source: Flight International